Fact Sheet 1: Putting the case for a female director
This fact sheet can be used as the basis for a question to a Chairman at an AGM and/or when speaking against the election of another male director and/or putting the case for the election of a female director.
My name is ….
I wish to question/oppose the board's recommendation to appoint another male director (s) to <the company>
My reason for speaking on this matter is to highlight the need for <the company> to improve its policies and practices in relation to appointing women to its board and to senior positions within the organisation.
There is a growing body of international and Australian research showing that a company requires a minimum of 30 per cent female board members to perform optimally, deliver value to shareholders and remunerate senior female employees appropriately.
The article, The Business Case for Women (McKinsey Quarterly September 2008) concluded that the gender gap isn’t just an image problem, it can have real implications for company performance. To quote from that article:
"Companies that hire and retain more women not only are doing the right thing but can also gain a competitive advantage. By hiring and retaining more women these companies will be able to draw from a broader pool of talent in an era of talent shortages. What’s more, research shows a correlation between high numbers of female senior executives and stronger financial performance."
In the Australian context, the Equal Opportunity in the Workplace Agency found that female senior executives identified as top earners of ASX200 companies are paid 58 per cent of their male counterparts for comparable roles.
In ASX listed companies with all male directors, women comprise five per cent of the top earners. In ASX listed companies with two or more women on the board, they comprise 13 per cent of the top earners.
<The company> is important to the Australian economy. But it does not have enough female board member(s). The research indicates that this can generate lesser quality discussion and decision making around the board table. The consequence of this is underperformance for shareholders.
The other consequence is that <the company> will be at a disadvantage when looking to recruit senior women executives. We are disadvantaged in the battle for talent.
As matter of urgency I urge the board to:
- Bring a recommendation for a female director to shareholders at the next AGM.
- Appoint a female sooner if possible.
- If there are currently no females on the Remuneration Committee then an external female appointment should be made.
Let me assure you that there is a large and talented pool of qualified women available for directorships in Australia and I am happy to point you in their direction.
Thank you for the opportunity to speak today.
EOWA Gender Income Distribution of Top Earners in ASX200 Companies http://www.eowa.gov.au/Research_And_Resources.asp